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A healthy start for healthy start vouchers?

Hamideh Mohtashami Borzadaran

Thursday 7 December 2023, 2.00PM to 3.00pm

Speaker(s): Hamideh Mohtashami Borzadaran, University of Birmingham


This paper examines the impact of a recent increase in the value of Healthy Start vouchers (HSV) on the purchase of healthy items, using a large and representative sample of 13 million shopping basket transactions from major UK food retailers. We use a difference-in-differences (DiD) approach to show that a £1.15 increased spending on fruit & vegetables for single voucher users by 32p and for two voucher users by 77p. For all eligible items, the increase in the value of the vouchers increased spending by 31p for single voucher users and by 89p for two voucher users. Our analysis of the marginal propensity to consume (MPC) indicates that consumers treat vouchers similarly to cash transfers of the same value. We also find that the effects of the HSV programme are greater in more deprived areas and areas with lower pre-change expenditure on eligible items, indicating potential benefits for reducing health inequalities. Our results have implications for the effectiveness of targeted benefit programmes, such as the UK HSV programme, in promoting healthy food choices. 

This project is also a working paper available on SSRN.

Hamideh's profile
Hamideh's website

Location: ATB/056 Seebohm Rowntree Lecture Theatre and via Zoom (not recorded)

Who to contact

For more information on these seminars, contact:

Adrian Villasenor
Adrian Villasenor-Lopez
Dacheng Huo
Dacheng Huo

If you are not a member of University of York staff and are interested in attending the seminar, please contact Adrian Villasenor-Lopez or Dacheng Huo so that we can ensure we have sufficient space

Map showing Location Details (PDF , 297kb)